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Since the first lockdown, one of the hardest challenges was finding ways to stay productive while working from home. During those never-ending months, we had to juggle organizing our working schedule and personal life in the same space – your home.
Now that the world is timidly trying to go back to normal, you’re likely experiencing new challenges. After this long time when you could everything from one place, it feels overwhelming to finish your tasks to meet your friends for dinner. Or arrange your tasks to go to the gym. Or even the idea of going out shopping.
You suddenly realize that, perhaps, quarantine wasn’t the only enemy to keep high productivity while working from home. Without a solid routine and healthy working schedule, it gets challenging to produce quality work overtime.
But there is no reason to despair. You need to find the right tricks and learn how to stay productive, saving your social and professional life.
6 Ways To Stay Productive Working From Home
1- Make a Calendar
Remember at school when teachers advised you to make a calendar to organize your work? Good recommendations are timeless, and this one will always be the best strategy to stay productive working from home. First, make a list and write down all your tasks, hobbies, social events, and house duties. Secondly, get a big calendar and start organizing all your ‘to-dos.’ The crucial thing here is to include everything you have to do in your monthly plan – from work to a dinner out with family and friends.
Productivity won’t increase if you forget to relax and take time off. On the contrary, without proper resting time, you will burn out before you even realize it. So, leave space for yourself and prioritize your hobbies like you prioritize working tasks. The first two weeks will be hard, but it will be easier once you get used to your new routine.
2- Create a Dedicated Work Space
Setting up a dedicated workspace is the second step to staying productive. Create a dedicated area in your house where everything is meant to simplify your working day. For example, when working from home we all have implemented our tech equipment to make the experience smoother. Save a drawer to fit in all cables, headphones, and chargers you have. So, anytime you need something, you will go straight there without getting distracted looking for that missing cable. Or, if you need to print documents, create a shelf to store all the documents, and organize them in a way that makes sense for you.
Whether the solution suits you, the goal is to save time looking for stuff and get distracted in the process. Take inspiration from the barman. They never look where to find the vodka or the gin to make a cocktail during a busy night. That’s because, when they are professional, they organize the bar before starting the shift. And when they are busy, they don’t need to look where things are because they know where to grab them, speeding up the service – and improving the customers’ experience.
3- Plan Your Meals
In ancient times, Latins say mens sana in corpore sano, which translates as ‘a healthy mind is in a healthy body.’ Eating at a regular time helps as much as making healthy dishes. Lucky for you, during the never-ending lockdown, people went mad for cooking. As a result, lots of them shared videos and posts with funny and original ideas to prepare healthy snacks in a short time.
What you need to do is schedule your meals at regular times and stick to them. The era of late lunches to finish a task is gone. Now, you are a new person who schedules work to eat a proper meal during appropriate times. It will feel overwhelming initially, but you will be more productive in the morning, looking forward to your lunch break. So, browse the Internet to find tasty recipes, and fit your daily meals in the calendar!
4- Find Time For Your Family and Hobbies
You can’t expect to stay productive without socialization and time for yourself. Do not postpone family commitments, and find time to go out with friends and cultivate your hobbies. Did you find a workshop that teaches you to make homemade creams you really want to attend? Just do it, even if it doesn’t align with your career prospects.
Life isn’t only about work. As soon as you take care of other aspects of your life, you will find new energy that will help you be more productive than ever.
5- Set Monthly Goals And Yearly Expectations
After you schedule your upcoming month, you can make another chart with your monthly goals and year expectations – for both your career and personal life. For example, you want to get promoted by the end of the year to have a raise. Think of small goals you can achieve each month to keep yourself motivated even when completing tedious tasks. Or, you want to get fit by next Christmas and wear that lovely dress that you have had in your wardrobe since forever. Set monthly training to focus on your body and find a new healthy meal every week. Having in mind these expectations will help you stay productive over the year and get the right motivation to stick with your schedule.
6- Look Forward To Unplugging
Finally, look forward to unplugging. It may seem counterintuitive, but the best way to stay productive is willing to get the job done. According to Buffer’s 2021 State of Remote Work, among 2.600 remote workers, at least 27% said that their major challenge is to unplug from work. Likewise, CareerBuilder found over 49% of employees that regularly check work e-mails out working hours; 45% usually finish tasks after the end of the day; and 31% of people checking in during their holidays.
The good news here is that you aren’t alone, and there are solutions to train yourself to unplug at the end of the day. For example, studies show that 2.55 pm is when productivity hits the lowest levels. During this time of the day, a 20-minute nap will help your productivity more than forcing yourself to go back to work. Even Margaret Thatcher used to take a nap between 2.30 and 3.30 pm, and no one of their aids could disturb her.
If you plan your working tasks in a set chunk of time, you can fit a nap or a 20-minute walk to recharge and finish your tasks in the afternoon. The goal is to find ways to recharge during the day and look forward to completing your daily tasks.
So, find what makes you passionate and do whenever you can to save as much time as you can!
Get The Work Done!
With that said, remember that these are tips you need to adjust to your personality and working day. Finding your balance to stay productive is a process, and you need time to see what works best with you. Initially, don’t be too hard on yourself if your plan doesn’t work. But don’t give up either. Just try out a different approach and keep trying until you find your routine.
And by then, staying productive while working from home will be a piece of cake.
Author Bio: Costanza Tagliaferri is a Writer and Content Marketer at IT Headhunting Agency DistantJob & remote culture media platform ThinkRemote. She has covered a wide range of topics, and now she is focussing on technology, traveling, and remote work.